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Is compensation possible if I wasn't wearing a helmet in a crash?

Motorcycles are exciting to ride, but they offer very little protection in the event of a crash. Injuries caused by a motorcycle accident can be severe or even fatal. If a West Virginia motorcyclist is injured due to a negligent driver, the motorcyclist will probably want to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other damages. But, what if the motorcyclist wasn't wearing a helmet? Is it still possible to file a claim for compensation and be awarded compensation?

West Virginia does have a helmet law that applies to all riders, no matter how old they are and how often they ride. However, the state also has a comparative negligence law, which states that a person can recover damages in the event of an accident, even if he or she is partially at fault. However, the amount of fault is limited to 51 percent. So if you were up to 50 percent at fault, you could receive compensation. But, if you were mostly at fault for the accident, you won't be able to receive any financial recovery.

However, there are a couple things to keep in mind. Your award will be reduced by each percentage you are considered to be at fault. So, if the court considers you to be 30 percent at fault and you were originally seeking a $100,000 award, then the most you could receive is $70,000.

Also, just because you weren't wearing a helmet doesn't necessarily mean you were at fault. If you suffered a broken arm, for example, a helmet could not have prevented that. If you suffered brain damage, however, then you would probably be considered partially liable for your injuries, since a helmet could have prevented such damage.

Source: FindLaw, "Motorcycle Accident FAQ," accessed July 11, 2015

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